Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 9/2/22

Here’s your UO holiday weekend report.  I stepped outside this morning and was greeted by a cool, gentle breeze. It joined our shorter daylight hours and earlier sundown times as early hints of fall. Instead of 70’s and 90’s for our daily lows and highs, we are now dipping back to the 60’s and 80’s. And it’s even cooler at the higher elevations!

For trout, tailwaters and stocked streams remain your best bets right now.  Yesterday’s recon showed that our headwaters are real skinny and transparent, but are finally cooling a bit.  Wild trout have renewed appetites, but remain super-skittish. Stealth and long leaders remain the keys to success.

Pond and river bass are still rocking along for warmwater fans. The Hooch at Highway 115 was still discolored from recent showers, but still afforded about 3 feet of visibility when I checked yesterday afternoon. Techniques are the same old summer song in both lake and stream:  topwater in the shadows and deep dredging in the midday sun. Remember that the Soque is a mud-pumper, so check visibility at both Duncan Bridge and 115 accesses before deciding which Hooch reach to float. Same  goes for the Chestatee- recon first before committing.

Hybrids and spots have just started some surface action on area reservoirs.  See Hank’s breaking report.  We also know that weekend recreationists will be out in force, so if you go to bigger lakes, go early or late to dodge all the wakes and water skiers.  

Review our long version of this report on our home page.  Then stop in the shop for the latest intel, supplies, and some super summer-end deals via our holiday sale at both stores.   Good luck and have lotsa fun on your long holiday weekend! 

Wes’ Hot Fly List

Dries: micro chubby, yellow humpy, fathead beetle, para-ant, tan caddis.

Nymphs & Wets:

Squirmy worm, copper John, red tag jig, hares ear, green weenie.

Streamers & warm water:

Finesse changer, soft chew, sparkle minnow, sweet baby cray, Boogle bug in the shade.


UO guide Caleb had a guided wild trout trip yesterday and reported: “It was a great day. We caught lots of wild trout. A green weenie under any foam-bodied fly was the ticket.”

The Smokies are even colder that our mountains and the bow and brookie bite should really turn on in the weeks ahead. Dress like a rhodo bush, stalk like a heron, limit false casts, and hit the pools for best results. PS: it’s nearly elk romance time, so quit early and recon the fields for buglers.

Stocker Streams:

GAWRD typically ends their spring/summer stocking season with a bang. Watch for their weekly stocking list to hit the web by 4pm today. It’s usually a long Labor Day list!



They’re still chugging along. UO guide Caleb had some fun on his off day: “ I fished a tailwater this past weekend and had some success using pats rubber legs and black copper john’s. Rainbow warriors brought in a few fish but cased caddis patterns were the best fly of the day.”

Warmwater Streams:

UO owner Jimmy: “ I tried harassing some Hooch bass near my house one evening right before dark this week. I think the shadows on the water made for better fishing than during full sunlight. The switch turned on about 7 PM and it was fun until I left at 8:00. Nothing real big to hand, but even those 13 & 14 inch shoalies pull like a bulldog.  Best time to go?  Whenever you can. Go have some fun!”

UO buddy Landon: “I had a slow night on the Chestatee.  There were lots of anglers on the river, even late on a Sunday. I found a few bass on topwater but really had to work for them. Hit the river on a weekday if you can for some better catching.”

Small Lakes

UO manager Jake hit a local lake on his off day. He rated the trip as good. A topwater buzzbait produced early, and then a drop-shotted plastic worm got hot as the sun rose above the tree line.

UO buddy RSquared: “Warmwater fishing is still a great option while the dog days of summer wind down.   I love to use popper/dropper rigs for a mixed bag of pond bluegills & bass.  Rodney”

Cooling weather and shorter days will make small lake fishing up here a blast. Grab the canoe or yak soon and take advantage of some pleasant, early fall paddles along those shady banks.


Here’s a late-breaking report from Hank, who just came off the water at 2PM today.  Hybrids and white bass are feeding on the surface in area lakes across north GA. The ticket is small flies (somethin else) on 6-weight outfits and fishing at first or last light. Try Chatuge, Allatoona, Hartwell, Oconee, and Clark Hill. 



Our faithful CO reporter, Sautee, has been distracted by resident wildlife and the Milky Way.  I don’t think he’s wet a line in over a week! He’s forgiven, however, due to his story telling and photography. We thought we’d share one of his great pics. Enjoy the bull elk huddle as their own competition begins soon.

That’s the hot holiday news for y’all.  Watch the weather, pack a raincoat in case of a shower, and get out there. Less heat equals more fun, and you have an extra weekend day for it!

And for all of our waterfowl hunters, good luck during the special one-day duck season on Saturday in Athens.  I hear that the unique camo pattern will be red and black.

We wish the best to all anglers, hunters, and the Dawgs!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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